Institute of Corrosion Members combine resources to help protect historic warship

Monday, 17 August 2015

HMS Wellington was built at Devonport Dockyard in 1934. She was one of the 13 Grimsby class warships built for service in the Commonwealth and Dependencies and from 1936 to 1939 she patrolled the waters around New Zealand and 2.5 million square miles of the western Pacific visiting and policing the Island chains and Possessions then under British rule.

At the outbreak of World War Two HMS Wellington was recalled to perform convoy escort duties in the Atlantic. During six years of wartime service she rescued over 450 Merchant Navy seamen and was active at Dunkirk and the North Africa landings. She also shared the credit for sinking a U-Boat. Shortly after the end of the war she was retired and laid up at Pembroke Dock.

The Honourable Company of Master Mariners had been looking for a livery hall since 1939. After the war the chances of building a livery hall in London were remote. In 1947 HMS Wellington was made available by the Admiralty and convert her to a floating Livery Hall. HQS Wellington arrived at Victoria Embankment in 1948.

In 1991 major refurbishment was carried out over three months in dry-dock at Sheerness. In 2005 ownership was transferred to the Wellington Trust, a charitable trust established to ensure the preservation of this historic ship. The ship relies on income from functions and exhibitions and charitable donations to assist with maintenance and is moored in the Thames close to Temple tube station. HQS Wellington had a coating system applied during the refurbishment in 1991 but did not have any cathodic protection system.

In 2014, six corrosion professionals, a number of whom are Institute of Corrosion members had combined resources to provide a CP system to protect the ship’s hull and persuaded their respective companies to provide free of charge the various constituent parts a of marine CP system.

Dr Paul Chess, Mr Frits Gronvold and Dr Peter Vagn Nygaard of FORCE Cathodic Protection in Denmark provided on of their latest switchmode cathodic protection power sources, Dr Patrick Lydon of IACS Corrosion Engineering Ltd designed the CP system and assisted with its installation and commissioning, Mr Mike Moffat of the Corrpro Companies Europe Ltd provided the impressed current anodes with IACS Corrosion Engineering Ltd contributing part of the anode cost and Mr Robert Britton of Silvion Ltd provided the Ag/AgCl/seawater reference electrodes used for the control of the CP system and routine monitoring.

The four organisations FORCE technology, IACS Corrosion Engineering Ltd, Corrpro Companies Europe Ltd and Silvion have all contributed to the application of CP to extend the vessels life and contribute to the preservation of the Nation’s Naval Heritage by reducing the rate of corrosion of the ships hull.

The ship’s management team have provided invaluable assistance during the work particularly the Chief Engineer, Martin Brownjohn and the Commanding Officer, Commodore Angus Menzies have contributed to the overall success of the work. They have also allowed the Wardroom to open to provide welcome refreshment when any work took place. 

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